What Happened on November 8, and What Happens Next? A Tour of Social Scientists' Answers
17 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2016
Date Written: December 10, 2016
How do social scientists explain strong popular support for Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election, and what do they predict for his presidency? Initial explanations can be divided into two broad categories: voters supported Trump because of what he said about blacks, immigrants, Muslims, women, the disabled, and other groups or despite what he said about these groups. Initial predictions range from arguments that not much will change in a Trump presidency to arguments that American liberal democracy is in jeopardy.
Social scientists’ explanations and prognostications often bear a striking resemblance to whatever framework each scholar has been deploying for a long time; like most people influenced by motivated reasoning, we tend to fit our new knowledge into the contours of what we thought we already knew. Whether social scientists are able to rethink cherished theories as a result of the November 8 surprise is a concern for us academics – but which explanations and predictions, if any, turn out to be most accurate is of concern to the nation and even the world.
Keywords: Trump, Election, Prediction, Presidency, Populism, Authoritarianism, Racism
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